Thursday, February 18, 2010
New Hampshire coach Bill Herrion weighed in with this following the Black Bears' dismantling of his Wildcats Wednesday night:
“They’re an extremely physical team that manhandled us. They took us behind the shed and laid it on us.”
High praise when you consider that Herrion, while at Drexel, was the lead conductor of some of the meanest, nastiest, toughest teams America East has ever seen.
Despite 21 turnovers, the Black Bears continue to impress observers with offensive sets that feature crunching screens, strong rip-throughs with the ball and, generally, a "Won't back down," thrust. In recent years, it wasn't uncommon to see the Bears offense repeatedly retreating toward mid-court. Now, the offense is being run inside the three-point arc consistently and the defenses are having a hard time moving Maine out. It's a recipe for success.
On defense, the Black Bears continue to harrass all the way to the rim and don't give up many easy looks. Again, that is a recipe for success.
Wednesday's game was on television and Steve heard an interesting comment from color man Frank Sullivan. When talking about UMaine's Canadian contingent, freshmen frontcourters Murphy Burnatowski and Mike Allsion, Sullivan said something like, "And I hear they have another one coming from the same area." Sullivan didn't elaborate, but it leaves you to wonder if he let something slip on 6-2 guard Jahenns Manigat, who plays for the Regional Elite Development Academy.
Consider me envious: Have been attending UMaine games at New Hampshire long enough to remember dates at the ice arena across the street. When UNH first moved back to Lundholm Gym, the place was dark, dingy and, to say the least, a morgue. Now, hoop games at UNH are just outright fun. They've done a great job updating and improving the facility. Combined with an entertaining game presentation, fans are turning out. If UNH put together a run of solid seasons, the place would be bonkers. It's the height of irony that UNH, of all places, has a homecourt atmopshere like this and UMaine (despite more success at the America East level through the years) has no atmosphere whatsoever at home games. However, it is proof that it can happen if the right moves are made. First on the list? Get the renovation of The Pit back on the table. Hey, maybe I should start a "Pit Fund." All proceeds going toward creating a home for UMaine men's and women's basketball.